Dogs, puppies, cats and rabbit seized from troubled rescue in Langley
For the third time in five years, the BC SPCA has seized numerous animals from a troubled rescue organization operating out of Metro Vancouver.
Officers executed a warrant at 1atatime Rescue Society in Langley Monday and took away 10 puppies, two dogs, four cats and one rabbit to be checked out by a veterinarian.
Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA's chief prevention enforcement officer, said some of the animals were suffering from untreated medical problems, including skin problems and one seemingly broken leg.
Others were allegedly being kept in unsuitable living conditions.
Moriarty said it's frustrating to have to return to the same property just six months after a massive seizure where 88 animals were discovered to be in distress. Three carcasses were also allegedly found in a freezer.
"The word 'rescue' suggests that animals are being taken in, rehabilitated and put in a better situation, and that's not what's happening here," Moriarty said.
"These poor animals could be in homes getting treatment, and they're not."
According to the SPCA, some of the animals seized last year were malnourished and emaciated. Some were allegedly suffering from severe periodontal disease and other medical conditions, and three dogs were in such bad shape vets determined the most humane option was to put them down.
The society recommended charges against the owner, Sandy Simans, in connection with the September seizure, but they are still waiting on approval from Crown.
"She's clearly demonstrated that she's not able to recognize when animals need assistance, and that's unfortunate," Moriarty said.
Should the case ever reach court, the SPCA said it will be forcefully pushing for a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Simans, who largely runs the home-based rescue by herself, briefly spoke to reporters during the seizure Monday and claimed she was being harassed by the animal welfare organization.
"They took healthy animals back in September and we've been going back and forth in court," Simans said, adding that she believes the SPCA is overstepping its bounds. "Everybody likes to believe that the SPCA can do no wrong."
Simans insisted the animals were receiving veterinary care. The SPCA said it has not seen records of treatment
After officers left the property, Simans showed CTV News around her home. The room where the cats were living had a strong odour of urine; the SPCA cited high ammonia levels as the reason for the felines' seizure.
Simans said she felt the concerns were overblown, however.
"There's nothing in this room where I would walk in and say, 'Oh, there's a high urine level, take the cats out of here or they'll die,'" Simans said. "I don't think they should've been taken."
The SPCA has argued Simans simply doesn't have the means to provide the medical care the animals need. Treating the 88 animals that were seized in 2016 raked up veterinary bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.
In December, the British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board ordered Simans to pay more than $81,000 for the costs incurred by the SPCA after the seizure. Moriarty said that money, which is still outstanding, "doesn't even scratch the surface of the care that was required."
Simans has defended her operation, pointing out that some of the 150 animals that have been seized from her over the past five years were already suffering from medical conditions when she took them in. The SPCA said the key issue is whether those issues are adequately addressed after the animals arrive at her home.
"Nobody is forcing her to go to the auction and pick up animals that need veterinary care," Moriarty said. "She needs substantial resources to be able to look after animals if she's going to continue to take them in."
Prior to last year’s seizure, officers removed 52 dogs and 19 cats from a Burnaby home Simans was using for the rescue in 2012. Most of the dogs and all of the cats were returned to her the same month after she moved into a larger property in Surrey.
One dog had to be euthanized and 12 others were kept and re-homed.
Simans subsequently sued the BC SPCA over a press release about the seizure that suggested she had caused injury to a chihuahua in her care. She was awarded $2,500 in damages.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Tom Popyk and Sarah MacDonald